First-time buyers and investors alike were treated to yet another rock bottom house clearance sale in Belfast on Thursday night.
Dozens of cut-price properties went under the hammer — with several selling for just over £20,000 — and many going for only 20% of their original value during the boom.
As the latest housing price survey shows the market is still on a downward spiral, dozens of buyers had their catalogues in hand and bidding cards held high at Wilson’s Auctions in Mallusk.
One lucky young first-time buyer — Ross Irwin — picked up a three-bedroom house in Newtownabbey for a measly £26,000, less than a quarter of the original asking price at the height of the property boom.
“I’m a first-time buyer and it’s just for myself,” he said.
“I’ve been to these before, my father spotted this one and I wasn’t able to get to it so I’m taking his word.
“I’m happy as Larry, though — you couldn’t beat it.”
The bulk of the some 30 lots which went under the hammer sold on the night, with the crowded auction house heaving with eager bidders.
The man holding the gavel was auctioneer Gareth Semple, who said the large number of keen bidders showed just how busy the market has become with eager investors.
“Out of 30 we have sold approximately 25 outright. Things are down at the moment but conditions are now right again for investors to start buying properties.
“You have terraced houses that are now going for £30,000; we also had a few first-time buyers, too, and that’s good to see,” he said.
Several other terraced houses sold for a fraction of their original market value, including a three-bedroom property in Belfast which went for £24,000.
Those in the market for something a bit bigger could have landed yet another bargain — snapping up a massive five-bedroom house in Portavogie which went for a mere £49,000, £90,000 less than previously valued.
Further north one lucky bidder grabbed a four-bedroom detached home in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, once valued at a quarter of a million pounds, for only £88,000.
And along with a tranche of budget homes going under the hammer, several low cost office properties also sold for significantly less than they were once worth.
According to the latest quarterly survey of property prices, the average cost of a home is down 3.6% on last year to just under £139,000.